Well Versed! Teen Poetry Contest Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of 2021's Well Versed Teen Poetry Contest! Read the winning poems below.


First Place: Crunchy by Hannah Cartwright

When your bones crunch under the weight of all your flesh

Crunching and twisting

Snap, crackle, and popping like a bowl of good cereal

Every morning climbing out of bed

Hearing the noises of your joints popping, your bones aching

Like the Statue of Liberty up in your joints

"Give me your tired, your huddled, your yearning ache longing just to disappear"

You resist the urge to scream to the sky

"What's crack-a-lacking God? And please tell me why you made me like this?"

Why did you give me cartilage just barely holding me together

The ribs that like to pop out and suffocate me in my sleep

Fifteen years old and crying about joint pain

People suffer across the world

And all you can think of is how your knee cricks and your wrist pops and how when you sleep, your shoulder twists

In such a way that isn't healthy but oh so natural

You are so young with better things to focus on

But all your mind can see

Is how your back cracks when you yawn


Second Place:  A Coward's Lullaby by Ava May

I thought about you when I was driving last night.
I felt the wind rush through my hair,
and wished the breeze’s hands were yours.
I wonder if there could ever be an “us”.
All this time,
I’ve waited for the right moment.
I told myself that at the “right time”,
I’d confess.
Or at least say hello.
Lately, that time has felt like now.
When I came to a stoplight that turned green right away,
I felt like it was a sign from God.
When I crash into bed at night,
visions of what we could have
drift from my pillow.
Their distant melody,
a coward’s lullaby.
Because you may never know the way that I feel.
Because I may never let you find out.
Because there’s her.
There’s her and there’s you, and more importantly,
there’s the two of you together.
So I don’t believe in signs from God.
Because if there is a God,
then what the hell is He for?


Third Place: Ode to the Piano by Hope Mullins

O Piano, friend to my ears,
You smile at me with your black and white teeth, my companion good,
With your keys, your gaping mouth.
You sing for me, like good friends do, as you open your mouth and belt out tunes,
Your flesh is smooth, as smooth as stone,
Make music for me, my friend.

My Piano is like a book,
Opening its pages to the world,
Allowing me to read how it feels and what it thinks.
Do you ever read me, too? When I play you,
Do you understand why my fingers move the way they do,
Why I play slow songs sometimes, and happy songs other days?
Whether you do or you don’t,
Make music for me, my friend.

When I touch you, you clink and clank,
Constantly speaking without saying a word.
You are a nightingale, singing melodiously,
Comforting me with your somber tunes when I am feeling low.
Your music floats through the air, grabs my heart, and burns me
With emotion! I long for your gorgeous voice, day and night,
Make music for me, my friend.

O Piano, my dark, walnut-colored pal,
 I love you for many reasons, but
A very specific reason would be because
You carry memories of loved ones with you
Whenever I think of you, No matter where I am,
I can remember that there are always people
Who make melodies in my heart
Make music for me, my friend

Yes, you’re a mess,
Yes, you’re covered in chord charts, music books, and picture frames–
But when I see this, it shows me
You’re loved by a family
Who loves each other.
Continue making music for me, my friend.